Civil servants’ role crucial in extending fruits of social protection policy to deserving people: Amjad Saqib

Islamabad: Chairperson, Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Dr Amjad Saqib on Friday said Pakistan is the biggest welfare state of the world supporting ten million families which is exactly 9.3 million making it to sixty million masses bearing fruits of the country’s largest social protection initiative of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

He was addressing as guest of honour to the closing ceremony of Social Protection Course training organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), German International Development Cooperation organisation (GIZ), and Oxford Policy Management (OPM).

Dr Amjad Saqib said the size of the scandinavian population is smaller than the size covered under BISP.
He added that the BISP social protection initiatives are not promoting beggars or alms taking but rather it is trying to assure to the poorest that in this fight against poverty they are not alone.
Dr Amjad mentioned that eight million children are getting education through BISP school scholarships and 9.3 million women are receiving stipend.
He said a welfare state makes it’s citizens life easier by ensuring a safer life without discrimination, poverty, lack of water and inequality, house, respect, education and health for all.
“The people who are less privileged and have no hope of betterment need help. The biggest poverty is of no hope for change which is the ultimate poverty,” he added.

Social Protection, he said is made through helping others making their lives easier and safe which is not only the duty of state but every individual.
Individual responsibility awakens after self realization of privileges availed by a person and his contribution for making others life equally convenient, he added.

The BISP Chairperson noted that civil servants have the role of assisting political leadership in policy making and it’s implementation is also their responsibility.
“This training would have helped you indulge in sole searching and pondering on your role in this system. The visit to downtrodden areas like that of Rajanpur and others should also be part of such trainings. If you have to learn practically then social protection should be learnt from the affected people,” Dr Amjad Saqib said.

In his remarks, Vaqar Ahmed Executive Joint Executive Director SDPI extended thanks to the partners and participants.

He said the training sessions imparted great knowledge and left almost all of us enlightened with social protection legal policy and regulatory frameworks.
He said the courses had shed light on social protection facets and implementation side.
He noted that the BISP’s effective use of data, digitalization and technology was a lesson learnt as it helped reduce transaction time for relief during COVID-19 and floods of 2022.

OPM Country Director Abdur Rauf Khan felicitated the partners and participants of the course.
He said social protection needs a bottom to top approach whereas BISP has come a long way from emerging a social protection initiative.

Dr. Franz von Roenne,
German Development Organisation, Programme Director, SP-SHP said there is no development just cooperation in our endeavours as cooperation between the countries is not related to development.

However, Germany cannot move under its own development unless it moves with Pakistan in development, he added.

Cooperation, he said is the basis of social protection so that no one can be the protagonist but an agent of social protection.

Dr. Esther Schüring, Team Leader, said the engagement level throughout the course was commendable which is important.
“We covered some of the key components of social protection and what can be changed to make it work effectively for Pakistan including the available tool’s effective employing for promising outcomes,” she added.

Helene Paust, First Secretary for Development Cooperation, Embassy of Germany said Germany and Pakistan are working as partners for decades.

However, our focus has shifted from assistance to social protection initiatives.
After COVID-19, it emerged that social protection instruments were crucial for masses in need, whereas GIZ has increased it’s portfolio in social protection and more focus made on social national adaptation, she added.

“It was heartwarming to see representation from all provinces of Pakistan,” she said.

Helena Paust lauded Dr Amjad Saqib’s Akhuwat Foundation initiative and also applauded the other stakeholders to achieve the milestone of developing this system.

At course completion certificates were distributed among the participants.

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